Economic insecurity can impact diabetes control
Despite new healthcare laws related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many individuals with diabetes still have difficulty paying for food and medications - which is strongly associated with poor diabetes control, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Researchers analyzed data on 411 patients from a primary care clinic, two community health centers and a specialty treatment center for diabetes in Massachusetts.
Almost one-third of patients reported that the cost of medication caused them to underuse their prescription diabetes drugs, while about 19 percent of patients also reported food insecurity.
The study found that food insecurity was linked to a greater likelihood of poor diabetes control and an increased number of outpatient visits. Cost-related medication underuse and having an increased number of economic insecurities was associated with poor diabetes control.
The main takeaway, the study authors said, is that social determinants of health can be important areas to address with diabetes patients in addition to their regular medical care.
"Health care systems are increasingly accountable for health outcomes that have roots outside of clinical care," the authors wrote. "In particular, food insecurity and cost-related medication underuse may be promising targets for real-world management of diabetes mellitus."